Public Administration Optional Coaching for UPSC Mains 2024

by Vajiram & Ravi

Date of Commencement

June 2024




To be announced later

Course Time

To be announced later

Public Administration Optional Coaching for UPSC Mains 2024

About UPSC Public Administration Optional

Public Administration is one of the most popular optional subjects in the UPSC Civil Services Exam. The Public Administration Optional Paper I comprises the study of administrative theories, administrative law, organisational structure, and theoretical elements relating to development, financial management, human management, etc. Paper II focuses primarily on Indian administration, including its history, philosophy, organisational structure at the federal and state levels, and further specifics including district, law-and-order, personnel, finance administration, and significant issues in Indian Administration.

The knowledge acquired in the Public Administration optional subject aids an aspirant in understanding and performing better in the General Studies Papers, particularly Paper II and Paper IV. Even the UPSC CSE Essay Paper allows for a decent amount of subject utilisation.

Is Public Administration a good Optional Subject for UPSC?

Public Administration is one of the most sought-after optional subjects in the UPSC examination. It is among the top five subjects with a high success rate in the UPSC examination. It is the only Optional Subject which has overlapping with GS Paper-II, GS Paper-III & GS Paper-IV in the following ways:

  • Its syllabus from the Indian Administration will cover a lot of concepts from GS Paper –II especially areas related to Polity, Constitution and governance. It will be covering approximately 120 - 150 marks of this GS paper.
  • It will also help in GS Paper – III especially areas related to Social & Economic Development, Security Issues & Disaster Management. It will cover approximately 70 – 90 marks of this GS paper.
  • It will also cover a minimum of 40% of the syllabus of GS Paper – IV in terms of Ethics, Integrity and aptitude including case studies. It will cover approximately 150 - 180 marks in GS paper-IV.
  • The total weightage any one can get after studying Public Administration is 500 marks of Optional & 340 – 400 marks of General Studies. It is above 840 marks out of 1500 marks (Optional + GS combined).

Why choose Public Administration as an Optional Subject?

There are multiple reasons why:

  • Its syllabus from Indian Administration will cover a lot of concepts from GS Paper –II especially areas related to Polity, Constitution & Governance. It will be covering approximately 100 - 125 marks of this GS paper. 
  • It will also help in GS Paper – III especially, areas related to Social & Economic Development, Security Issues & Disaster Management. It will cover approximately 60 – 80 marks of this GS paper. It will also cover a minimum 40% syllabus of GS Paper – IV in terms of Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude. A lot of topics from Pub Ad directly overlap with GS Paper-IV including case studies. It will cover approximately 150 - 180 marks in GS Paper-IV. In total, it will cover around 300 - 350 marks of GS and the weightage of the Optional Subject itself is 500 marks. Therefore, in total it will cover 800 - 850 marks out of 1500 marks (GS + Optional). A very interesting fact is that one topic related to Pub Ad is also asked in the Essay Paper which carries 125 marks.

Public Administration Optional Syllabus

Paper I

Administration Theory

1. Introduction:

  • Meaning, scope and significance of Public Administration, Wilson’s vision of Public Administration, Evolution of the discipline and its present status. New Public Administration, Public Choice approach; Challenges of liberalisation, Privatisation, Globalisation; Good Governance: concept and application; New Public Management.

2. Administrative Thought:

  • Scientific Management and Scientific Management movement; Classical Theory; Weber’s bureaucratic model, its critique and post-Weberian Developments; Dynamic Administration (Mary Parker Follett); Human Relations School (Elton Mayo and others); Functions of the Executive (C.I. Barnard); Simon’s decision-making theory; Participative Management (R. Likert, C. Argyris, D. McGregor.)

3. Administrative Behaviour :

  • Process and techniques of decision-making; Communication; Morale; Motivation Theories content, process and contemporary; Theories of Leadership: Traditional and Modem.

4. Organisations :

  • Theories systems, contingency; Structure and forms: Ministries and Departments, Corporations, Companies; Boards and Commissions; Ad hoc, and advisory bodies; Headquarters and Field relationships; Regulatory Authorities; Public-Private Partnerships.

5. Accountability and Control :

  • Concepts of accountability and control; Legislative, Executive and judicial control over administration; Citizen and Administration; Role of media, interest groups, voluntary organizations; Civil society; Citizen’s Charters; Right to Information; Social audit.

6. Administrative Law :

  • Meaning, scope and significance; Dicey on Administrative law; Delegated legislation; Administrative Tribunals.

7. Comparative Public Administration :

  • Historical and sociological factors affecting administrative systems; Administration and politics in different countries; Current status of Comparative Public Administration; Ecology and administration; Riggsian models and their critique.

8. Development Dynamics :

  • Concept of development; Changing profile of development administration; ‘Anti-development thesis’; Bureaucracy and development; Strong state versus the market debate; Impact of liberalisation on administration in developing countries; Women and development the self-help group movement.

9. Personnel Administration :

  • Importance of human resource development; Recruitment, training, career advancement, position classification, discipline, performance appraisal, promotion, pray and service conditions; employer-employee relations, grievance redressal mechanism; Code of conduct; Administrative ethics.

10. Public Policy :

  • Models of policy-making and their critique; Processes of conceptualisation, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review and their limitations; State theories and public policy formulation.

11. Techniques of Administrative Improvement :

  • Organisation and methods, Work study and work management; e-governance and information technology; Management aid tools like network analysis, MIS, PERT, CPM.

12. Financial Administration :

  • Monetary and fiscal policies: Public borrowings and public debt Budgets types and forms; Budgetary process; Financial accountability; Accounts and audit.

Paper II

Indian Administration

1. Evolution of Indian Administration :

  • Kautilya Arthashastra; Mughal administration; Legacy of British rule in politics and administration Indianization of Public services, revenue administration, district Administration, local self Government. 

2. Philosophical and Constitutional framework of Government :

  • Salient features and value premises; Constitutionalism; Political culture; Bureaucracy and democracy; Bureaucracy and development.

3. Public Sector Undertakings :

  • Public sector in modern India; Forms of Public Sector Undertakings; Problems of autonomy, accountability and control; Impact of liberalisation and privatisation.

4. Union Government and Administration :

  • Executive, Parliament, Judiciary-structure, functions, work processes; Recent trends; Intra-governmental relations; Cabinet Secretariat; Prime Minister’s Office; Central Secretariat; Ministries and Departments; Boards; Commissions; Attached offices; Field organisations.

5. Plans and Priorities :

  • Machinery of planning; Role, composition and functions of the Planning Commission and the National Development Council; ‘Indicative’ planning; Process of plan formulation at Union and State levels; Constitutional Amendments (1992) and decentralised planning for economic development and social justice.

6. State Government and Administration :

  • Union-State administrative, legislative and financial relations; Role of the Finance Commission; Governor; Chief Minister; Council of Ministers; Chief Secretary; State Secretariat; Directorates.

7. District Administration since Independence :

  • Changing role of the Collector; Union-State-local relations; Imperatives of development management and law and order administration; District administration and democratic decentralisation.

8. Civil Services :

  • Constitutional position; Structure, recruitment, training and capacity building; Good governance initiatives; Code of conduct and discipline; Staff associations; Political rights; Grievance redressal mechanism; Civil service neutrality; Civil service activism.

9. Financial Management :

  • Budget as a political instrument; Parliamentary control of public expenditure; Role of finance ministry in monetary and fiscal area; Accounting techniques; Audit; Role of Controller General of Accounts and Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

10. Administrative Reforms since Independence :

  • Major concerns; Important Committees and Commissions; Reforms in financial management and human resource development; Problems of implementation.

11. Rural Development :

  • Institutions and agencies since Independence; Rural development programmes: foci and strategies; Decentralization and Panchayati Raj; 73rd Constitutional amendment.

12. Urban Local Government :

  • Municipal governance: main features, structures, finance and problem areas; 74th Constitutional Amendment; Global-local debate; New localism; Development dynamics, politics and administration with special reference to city management.

13. Law and Order Administration:

  • British legacy; National Police Commission; Investigative agencies; Role of Central and State Agencies including para military forces in maintenance of law and order and countering insurgency and terrorism; Criminalisation of politics and administration; Police-public relations; Reforms in Police.

14. Significant issues in Indian Administration:

  • Values in public service; Regulatory Commissions; National Human Rights Commission; Problems of administration in coalition regimes; Citizen administration interface; Corruption and administration; Disaster management.


Is Public Administration a good Optional for Humanities or Engineering or Medical or Commerce background students?

A good student always searches for a logical discipline to ensure success in competitive exams. Public Administration is such a discipline which helps an individual to inculcate administrative skills & problem-solving attitude. A Civil Servant is an administrator responsible to perform multiple functions during his/her career such as policy execution, policy monitoring, policy formulation etc. which can be performed with ease by Public Administration students as they study Public Policy in their Syllabus. More than 95% of students who choose this Optional subject have not studied this discipline in graduation. Therefore, competition is fair when compared with other Optional Subjects.

How much time does Public Administration take to complete as a UPSC Optional Subject?

The average duration to cover the syllabus of Public Administration Optional Subject is 5 months. It is similar to other Optional Subjects in this respect only. We conduct Optional batches for the months of June - November & October - March.


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